Sports and recreation activities can cause traumatic brain injuries and physical trauma. Sustaining an injury while playing certain sports can lead to scalp contusion, laceration, bleeding in the brain, and even coma. Severe traumatic brain injury due to sports may lead to death. Hence, it is crucial to diagnose the injury and plan the treatment immediately after sustaining an injury. Seeking emergency medical attention reduces the chances of complications related to the injury and helps in faster recovery.
You may need a sports doctor to improve fitness, decrease the health risks, or return or start physical activities after a sports injury or illness. Sports doctors are specialty doctors who have experience working with athletes and can help reclaim an active lifestyle.
Important factors to consider while choosing your sports doctor
Although choosing your sports doctor may appear like a daunting task, it is a significant step towards an active and healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you choose the right sports doctor for a successful treatment.
- Ask for referrals: To get referrals, ask your physician or physical therapist for a referral list of sports doctors. Also, ask for recommendations from family and friends. If someone you know has undergone treatment with a sports doctor, then he/she can provide reliable feedback about the overall experience.
- Check sports doctor’s credentials: The path of becoming a sports doctor is difficult and time-consuming. Hence, checking the sports doctor’s credential is crucial. Check for the doctor’s educational background, certifications and degrees. The credentials give you an idea about the sports doctor’s training, skills, and experience in providing medical care specific to sports activities. While checking the credentials, confirm that your doctor has no history related to disciplinary actions or malpractice claims. To check the sports doctor’s credentials, you can browse through reputable medical associations or online reviews.
- Check experience level: Experience is a critical factor that you should not ignore. It establishes trust between the doctor and the patient. A well-versed doctor with experience may offer better suggestions and consultation as he/she is involved in the profession for a long time. With experience, the sports doctor can suggest better treatments, knows the advantages and disadvantages of particular medications, physical therapy, and exercises. They also need to use the latest techniques, devices, and treatment approaches.
- Visit the sports doctor’s office/ hospital: Once you have short-listed your choices, visit the sports doctor’s hospital or office if possible. Check the hospital’s quality as excellent hospitals have fewer complications and offer a better quality of care. Choose the sports doctor’s office where the staff makes you feel comfortable. Visiting the sports doctor’s office gives you a chance to evaluate the staff’s communication style. The staff should welcome your questions, support your needs, provide correct information and answers in the ways you can understand.
- Comfort level: Some people may feel eager to discuss their issues with doctors they are comfortable with. You should choose the sports doctor where you feel comfortable openly discussing personal information. Sports doctors are becoming more aware and skilled in caring for men, women, and children differently. You can ask the doctor about his/her recent experience and training specifically related to your needs and condition.
- Know cost estimates and insurance coverage: Ask your sports doctor about the cost estimate related to diagnosis, treatment, and follow-ups. Check with your insurance provider to see if they cover your doctor or treatment under the insurance plan to minimize any out-of-pocket costs. To receive most insurance benefits, you may be required to choose the sports doctor who takes part in your insurance plan.
- Read patient feedback: Review what other patients have to say about your sports doctor. It offers an insight into what to expect and how the doctor interacts with the patients. Reading such feedback and reviews provides a better understanding of the quality of care, experience with wait times, scheduling appointments, etc. From the patient feedback, you can assess how well his/her patients trust the doctor, how well the doctor answers the patient’s questions, and how much time and attention the doctor gives to them.
- Get a second opinion: As your future health depends on the crucial decision of choosing the right sports doctor, get a second opinion for any serious conditions or treatments. This gives valuable information which altogether works to benefit you.
These tips will help to make a sound decision while choosing your sports doctor. These doctors mainly focus on preventing, managing, diagnosing, and treating injuries related to physical exercise. Their advice covers a wide range of aspects like nutrition, psychology, substance abuse, and fitness.